Thursday was packed with COVID-19 news with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox calling for flags to be lowered in honor of the lives lost to the disease and later in the day announcing he, himself, had tested positive for the virus.

The governor joined President Joe Biden in authorizing that U.S. and state flags be lowered at all state facilities, remaining at half staff through sunset Monday.

Early Thursday the President said his action marks “a tragic milestone: one million American lives lost to COVID-19.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said by Thursday COVID-19 deaths nationwide had reached 995,747.

In April, Utah moved into a new phase of its COVID response — the “Steady State” — and in what is now a weekly report of COVID statistics, the Utah Department of Health announced Thursday the state has seen 4,761 COVID-19 deaths. Since the state’s May 5 COVID update almost 3,400 new cases were detected the past seven days.

Utah officials have focused on the seven-day testing average of new cases while also looking at wastewater analysis, hospitalizations and emergency room visits to identify outbreaks.

The Bear River Health Department reported Monday there have been 247 COVID-19 deaths in the district which includes Cache, Box Elder and Rich counties. Among the 186,818 residents in the district there have been nearly 52,000 cases of the virus. Just over 71 percent of the three-county population has received at least one does of the vaccine.

In becoming one of about 940,000 Utahns to contract the virus, the governor said he began experiencing a scratchy throat late Wednesday night and was tested Thursday morning.

“So far I feel fine,” Gov. Cox said Thursday. “Like so many Utahns, I’ve been vaccinated and boosted, but COVID eventually touches us all. If you feel sick, please stay away from others. And if you haven’t yet, please get vaccinated.”

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